This Weekend about 1,800 North Dakota Republican Party insiders and activists are attending the state’s GOP convention, during which the state’s 25 delegates to the Republican convention in Cleveland will be selected and approved. No primary or caucus, just a small handful of party insiders picking delegates and the convention voting approval. And worse, the delegates will be unbound:
The 25 delegates to the national convention will be selected by a group of 11 state party leaders in North Dakota, called the Permanent Committee on Organization. That committee is made up of the Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland, the Republican National Committeewoman for North Dakota, Sandy Boehler, state GOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong and two members from each region of the state who are chosen by the regional GOP chairs.
In order to be considered, potential delegates had to submit an application to the state Republican Party by Monday that’s signed by the applicant’s district chair.
Factors they take into consideration, according to the North Dakota Republican Party’s official rules, mainly have to do with how involved they’ve been with the party: whether delegate applicants have been a delegate to the state convention previously, run for office in the state, volunteered on behalf of the party, served as an official in the state party, or contributed to the state party, for example.
Once the Committee decides who it wants the 25 delegates to be the full convention–made up of state-level convention delegates who were elected earlier this year on the local level — will vote on the list.
At the National Convention, the 25 unbound delegates are free to vote for whichever candidate they want. That guarantees that each campaign, will do their best to woo delegates once they’re selected. The delegates are so important that Sen. Ted Cruz will deliver the convention’s keynote address on Saturday. Both Trump and Gov. John “the Spoiler” Kasich have sent top surrogates — Trump’s surrogate is former rival-turned-endorser Ben Carson.
The Cruz campaign seems to have taken the importance of the North Dakota delegates more seriously than the Trump and Kasich campaigns. An internal Cruz campaign memo circulated earlier this month suggested the campaign’s advanced ground organization would help win over North Dakota’s unbound delegates. Cruz’s father, Rafael, was scheduled to be in North Dakota on Tuesday to stump for the Texas senator as well.